Yield: 4 Servings
1⁄4 cup cranberries, fresh or frozen
1⁄4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon red onion, chopped
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup canola oil
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
1⁄8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 Bosc pears
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 quart baby spinach, washed and trimmed
1 tablespoon shallots, very thinly sliced
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1/2 cup dried cranberries
For the dressing: If using frozen cranberries, thaw them. Purée the cranberries in a food processor until smooth. Add the vinegar, onion, sugar, and mustard and continue to purée until well blended. With the food processor running, gradually add the oil and purée until well blended and emulsified. Transfer the dressing to a medium bowl. Add the salt and pepper and combine well. Chill thoroughly and reserve until needed.
For the salad: Cut the pear into quarters and remove the stem and the seeds. Cut the pears into very thin slices. Sprinkle lemon juice over the slices to keep them from turning brown. Let the pears sit for 5 to 10 minutes before draining the pears.
Divide the pear slices. Slightly overlap the pears in a circle near the rim of the plate. Toss the spinach and shallots with the dressing.
Mound some of the spinach salad in the center of each plate. Sprinkle each salad with some crumbled feta, toasted slivered almonds, and dried cranberries.